Joe Biden’s Agenda Splintered by Senate Democrats over Filibuster, Gun Control, Minimum Wage Hike

Former vice president and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks about reopening the country during a discussion in Yeadon, PA, on June 17, 2020. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

President Joe Biden’s progressive agenda is facing opposition from his own party beyond Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who with other Senate Democrats, is not falling in line with a range of priorities the administration has established. This includes gun legislation, the $15 minimum wage, and changing the filibuster to pass legislation that would minimize legal immigration, voter ID laws, and the free-market.

For instance, Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) has not agreed to expand gun background checks as proposed by House bills, and eight Democrat senators have opposed raising the federal minimum wage to $15 dollars an hour. Additionally, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), together with Manchin, are against altering the filibuster, which would set a new precedent that enables 51 votes instead of 60 to pass legislation.

“I think we should look at ways to reform the filibuster, but I don’t think getting rid of it is the best approach,” Shaheen responded when a reporter questioned her.

Sen. Maggie Hassan’s (D-NH) spokesperson said the senator also has “concerns about eliminating the filibuster.”

As for Biden, he was asked during his first solo press conference as president if he supports ending the filibuster. Biden responded he “strongly supports” filibuster reform, adding, “And if we have to, if there is complete lockdown and chaos as a consequence of the filibuster, we will have to go beyond what I’m talking about.”

Regarding gun legislation, Tester from Montana is shaky.

“Background checks are important. I do believe that. But you can go too far on that ship pretty fast, too. I am for background checks. There is a caveat for handing down within the family and not requiring a background check,” Tester specified.

Biden’s agenda is additionally on the ropes concerning the $15 minimum wage hike. Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) said because of the economic recession, he is not in favor of a minimum wage hike.

“There were eight of us who weren’t comfortable,” Carper said. “Right now, we are in the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, and we may want to wait just a little later into the year. I want us to be careful we don’t have unintended consequences.”

The Democrat Party’s mutiny over different aspects of the administration’s agenda speaks to the Democrats’ splintered front, which is challenged to present a united attack against a Republican party that has an opportunity to win back the House in 2022.

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